To ride a motorcycle is to make a million decisions with each passing minute. Some of those decisions are big. Some of them are small. But all of them are in pursuit of the same ultimate goal: stay on the bike, and stay alive. That’s kind of the fun of it though, isn’t it? The feeling of freedom that comes with being one with the bike and the pavement beneath it. Every bump in the road; every crack in the highway — you feel them, and you react.
Riding a motorcycle has this way of dragging you headlong into the present, because if you let your concentration drift too much, well… we’ve seen our fair share of crash scene photos, and we’d rather leave them to your imagination.
A lot of those million decisions you’re making are unconscious. They’re not things you actively think about. They’re the product of your experience, your training, and instinct — plus a bit of that human will to live. But there are some things you should be actively putting thought towards when you’re on the road. If these are things you’re already thinking about each time you ride, that’s awesome! There’s nothing wrong with a refresher.
With a big assist from the California Highway Patrol, let’s jump back in with or next three reminders:
Reminder #4: Take a motorcyclist safety course to improve skill and lower insurance rates.
One of the more shocking statistics we learned last year is that of all the motorcyclists who are involved in accidents, 92% either taught themselves to ride, or learned how to ride from family or friends. Meaning, these riders were essentially without proper training. The knowledge you get by taking a certified motorcycle safety course is invaluable. Not only does the experience reduce the amount of accident involvement, but it can help riders reduce the level of injury in the event a crash does occur.
Case in point: motorcycle riders frequently report knowing they were about to crash beforehand. A safety course will teach you the right way to crash, and the wrong way to crash. Holding on to the handlebars for too long? Wrong. Letting go once you realize you’re just along for the ride: as counter-intuitive as it might sound, it’s right. That’s not something your family or friend is likely to teach you, and it’s certainly not something you’ll learn comfortably on your own through trial and error. But it is the sort of thing you’ll learn in a motorcycle safety course. And, as an added bonus, you’ll reduce your insurance rates. That definitely sounds worth it to us.
Reminder #5: Obey the speed limit. A motorcycle collision is more likely to cause injury or death.
Going fast is fun. Much of the allure of motorcycles comes from the adrenaline rush you get while zipping down the highway, or taking a corner at speed. But speed also kills. Whether you’re in a car, or on a motorcycle, speed is the leading cause of accidents among all motorists. Slow down. Is getting to work two minutes earlier really worth an accident?
Reminder #6: Always wear safety gear. Especially a helmet.
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a loop around the block, or heading off on a daytrip to Solvang. You always need to gear up. The level of gear might be a bit different depending on where you’ll be riding, but at the very least you should have on a helmet, a jacket, and boots. The majority of motorcycle accidents occur during everyday reasons for riding — like running a quick errand to the post office, or meeting a friend for coffee a few miles from where you live. There are plenty of reasons why most accidents tend to occur so close to home, but complacency should really not be one of them. Nor should complacency be the reason you choose not to wear a helmet during your quick ride to the bank. But that’s usually the mindset, isn’t it? “Oh, it’s no big deal. I’ll be fine. It’s just around the corner.” Those are famous last words.
Bonus Reminder: Keep your eyes on the road ahead.
The list of things you need to think about is long and winding, much like the roads most fun to ride. We’re going to be releasing a bunch more tips like the three above over the coming weeks, so stay tuned, and keep your eyes on the road ahead!
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Check Out These References for Further Reading:
“California Motorcyclist Training.” California Highway Patrol. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
“Wear the Right Gear.” California Department of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
“Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Motorcycle Safety Gear.” Retrieved 26 January 2020.
“You and Your Motorcycle.” Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
“Motorcycle Safety is a Two-way Street.” National Safety Council. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
“Motorcycle Accidents: Common Causes.” NOLO. Retrieved 26 January 2020.